A dirty iron can cause a lot of problems, especially if you have a big load of laundry to take care of. Over time, water can leave behind mineral deposits. If you use a spray on starch or other product, this can leave gunk behind on the plate of the iron. Fortunately, though, irons are relatively easy to clean, especially if you do it on a regular basis.
1. Make a paste.
Mix together a paste of 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of water and 2 tablespoons (6 g) of baking soda. The paste should be a bit runny, but still thick enough so that it can stick to the plate of your iron.
- Use filtered or distilled water, if you can.
2. Spread the paste on the iron’s plate after it has cooled
If you have recently used the iron, ensure that the plate is completely cool before you do this! You can apply the paste directly to the plate. If your iron is only dirty in one place, you don’t have to spread the mixture all over. If you are just doing a general cleaning, it is also OK to spread the paste over the entire plate.
- You can use your fingers to apply the paste or you can use a spatula.
- You can leave this paste sitting on the iron for a few minutes if there is a lot of buildup on the iron.
- Spread the paste on generously, especially if your iron is very dirty.
3. Get a clean cloth wet
You will use this to remove the paste, so make sure it is clean. Get the cloth wet. Wring out any excess water, and then wipe off the paste that you have spread onto the iron.
4. Use a cotton swab to clean the steam holes.
Dip the cotton swab (the kind that people use to clean their ears) into some fresh distilled water. Clean out each of the steam holes using the cotton swab.
- You may need to use more than one cotton swab if there is a lot of gunk coming out of the holes. Use a new cotton swab if there is a lot of buildup stuck on the swab.
5. Fill the reservoir
If there is any old water leftover in the iron, be sure to empty it out first. You can do this by opening the hatch to the reservoir and turning it upside down. After it is empty, use distilled or filtered water, and fill the reservoir about 1/3 of the way.
- You can also fill the reservoir with a mixture of 3/4 cup (180 mL) of water and 1/4 cup (60 mL) of white vinegar for a stronger cleaning solution. However, you should read your iron’s instruction manual to make sure that it will tolerate vinegar.
6. Turn on the iron
Turn the iron to its highest setting, and make sure the steam setting is on. In this step, the steam and heat will clean out gunk and mineral deposits caught deep in the steam holes.
- Be careful when working with a hot iron. Don’t get burned by the steam that will be released by the iron.
7. Iron a clean cloth for a few minutes
Choose a clean cloth that you don’t mind getting dirty. If there is dirt caught inside the iron it may leave brown streaks on your cloth. All you need to do now is iron the cloth to help clean out the iron. If you have a manual steam button, press the button often to help release even more steam
- A kitchen towel will probably work well for this.
8. Turn off the iron and let it cool
Make sure that you place the iron on a protected surface (e.g. a kitchen counter covered with a towel). As the iron cools, more old sediment might drip out of the iron.
- If there is any leftover water in the reservoir, be sure to remove it.